May 5, 2020
Stay Connected - LeadingAge Illinois COVID-19 Resources
Stay up to date on state and federal COVID-19 information and updates by accessing the LeadingAge Illinois COVID-19 Resources page. You can also engage with other Illinois members through our listservs, connecting you with your peers by provider type. We have now added a COVID-19 listserv . Contact LeadingAge Illinois if you’d like more information about the listservs or would like to join one.

TOP STORIES
LeadingAge Submits Requests to HHS on COVID-19 Testing and Provider Relief Fund
LeadingAge has submitted requests to HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting improvements in access to testing and funds for aging services providers. Yesterday’s letter  concerning the impact the lack of adequate and timely testing has on the care of older adults and the staff who care for them. 
 
In yesterday’s letter, LeadingAge requested:
 
  • Prioritization of all aging services staff (symptomatic and asymptomatic) in the top CDC priority tier.

  • Prioritization of people served in congregate living facilities.

  • Funding and operational support for onsite testing for all staff and care recipients, with rapid results and at intervals frequent enough to prevent the spread of infection.
 
In the other letter, sent this past weekend, LeadingAge requested funds for aging services providers from the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund. The letter requested $53.4 billion for providers across the continuum, both those that have already received funds and those to whom HHS committed to distributing funds (for example, Medicaid providers). The letter follows LeadingAge’s first request for $34.6 billion on April 4 and their April 20 letter seeking clarification of a number of issues and questions regarding the fund and aging services providers. As a reminder, HHS information about the fund is here and LeadingAge’s FAQs document is here .
LeadingAge Illinois to Offer Testimony Before Various Legislative Caucuses on COVID-19 Impact
LeadingAge Illinois and the other associations will be providing legislative briefings and testimony to various House and Senate caucuses of the Illinois General Assembly this week. 
 
The caucuses and committees we will be briefing include: 
  • Senate Human Services Committee,
  • Senate Public Health Committee
  • Senate Licensed Activities Committee
  • Senate Republican Caucus
  • House and Senate Black Caucuses
  • House Republican Caucus
  • House Downstate Democratic Caucus
 
The issues that we will be emphasizing will include the following:
 
  • Funding. For increased costs associated with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), testing and staff retention, which have increased significantly across the state. The funding increases we are looking at will be for SNF, Assisted Living and Supportive Living. The funding source will be coming from the federal government under the CARES Act and additional funding from the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP).

  • Testing & PPE supplies. The Governor and IDPH are beginning to increase and focus testing in long-term care facilities. However, there continues to be conflicting and confusing guidance from IDPH on the overall process and procedures.

  • Executive Order Expiration/Regulatory Relief. We will be working with the Illinois General Assembly to request the extension of certain Executive Orders beyond the current emergency. This is because many of the issues will likely exist in long-term care well past the removal of the emergency declaration. Most of these decisions regarding regulatory relief will be in the hands of the legislature after the declaration is expired. This is why we are testifying before legislators who will make these decisions. 

  • Liability Relief. The Governor’s Office provided civil liability relief for “health care facilities” in his Executive Order on April 1. Just last week, the Governor included Assisted Living and Supportive Living, which are congregate living facilities that face the same challenges and risks and are expected to follow the same protocols as other health care facilities. We will be urging the various legislative caucuses to push for an extension of this civil liability immunity order once the emergency declaration has been lifted by the Governor. We know that COVID-19 challenges will continue to exist in our respective healthcare setting well beyond the declaration.

  • IDPH Communication. We strongly feel IDPH has not been expeditious in their responses to the profession nor have they been proactive in coordinating a strategy for COVID-19 prevention and treatment in long term care settings. In a time where cases and protocols are changing rapidly and sometimes daily, the profession needs quick and clear guidance from the state regulatory agency without lengthy delays.
CMS Issues More Blanket Waivers
CMS announced on April 30, additional blanket waivers for Home Health , Hospice and Nursing Homes . LeadingAge summarized the changes for you.
Source: LeadingAge
Contact Congress for Affordable Senior Housing Relief
Support LeadingAge’s affordable senior housing asks in the next COVID-19 relief package by contacting your representative and senators today. Congress has been working for weeks on the next funding package; now is the time to make sure your voice is heard for affordable senior housing.
 
Urge Congress to support:
 
A $1.202 billion package of relief funds for affordable senior housing, including:
  • $845 million for COVID-19 costs for services, staffing, disinfecting, PPE, etc. Funds from the March 27 CARES Act will begin to make up for lost tenant rent revenue, not help pay for other related costs.

  • $300 million for Service Coordinators, both to support existing Service Coordinators and to get new ones for the half of senior housing communities that do not have one.

  • $50 million for wireless internet installation and service fees in resident units and in the community’s common spaces. The lack of internet access slowed efforts to combat social isolation, engage residents with telehealth, and connect residents to needed supports.

  • $7 million for a one-year extension of HUD’s Integrated Wellness in Supportive Housing demonstration, whose funding for wellness nurses and Service Coordinators is set to end on September 30 without congressional action.
 
Click here to find contact information for your members of Congress. Thank you in advance for your advocacy. 
Five Star Reports
The most recent Five Star Reports were distributed to nursing home members last Friday. The Claims-based quality measure periods are based on 2018 quarter four to 2019 quarter three, while the MDS-based quality measure periods are based on 2019 quarter one through 2019 quarter four. The staffing numbers and rating are based on PBJ data from 2019 quarter four. While CMS has announced a freeze to the health inspection ratings for inspections on or after March 4, the latest deficiencies in the April 2020 data is March 3, so this freeze is not in place for this set of reports. If you did not receive your report, contact Jason Speaks
N95 Mask Decontamination Service
Governor Pritzker announced last week and reported again yesterday, that the State has acquired a new decontamination system for N95 masks. The equipment was acquired to stretch Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) further. The service is based in Waukegan and is free with a 24-hour turn around.  Up to 20 times, an N95 masks can be cleaned and sanitized.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) has submitted instructions to local health departments and long term care facilities who can take advantage of this fast and free service.  Fed Ex and Cardinal Health are transporting masks from facilities to the Waukegan site and back. Contact David Giles at 614.424.5612 to enroll a nd receive an account number. Masks are dropped off with this account number and identified for pick up with the same. 
STATE
COVID-19 Updates and Q&A Webinars for Long-Term Care and Congregate Residential Settings
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is hosting webinars to provide COVID-19 updates and answer questions from long-term care and congregate residential settings.

Click here for the presentation from the May 1 webinar.
 
To register, click on dates below:
 
 
 
 
 
Webinar attendance is limited. If you cannot register or get in, email Michael Moore .
IDPH will be recording the webinars and sending out the links of the recordings.
Governor Pritzker Daily Press Conferences
Governor JB Pritzker is conducting daily press 2:30 p.m. conferences on COVID-19. Click here to listen daily.

Yesterday’s update included:
 
Cases:
  • 2,341 new cases (63,840 total)
  • 46 new deaths; lowest since April 19 (2,662 total)
 
Testing:
  • 13,834 new tests over last 24 hours (17% positivity rate)
  • 2nd in testing amongst most populated states.
 
Hospitalizations:
  • April 5: 3,680
  • April 12: 4,091
  • April 19: 4,599
  • April 26: 4,672
  • May 4: 4,493
 
ICU Occupied Bed Usage at Hospitals:
  • April 5: 43% of 2,709
  • April 12: 39% of 2,991
  • April 19: 40% of 3,134
  • April 26: 34% of 3,631
  • May 4: 33% of 3,681
 
ICU Bed Availability:
  • Bed Availability fluctuates by the hour and can be viewed live at dph.illinois.gov. 
  • Rockford: 51.5% (86)
  • Peoria: 40.2% (101)
  • Springfield: 54.3% (82)
  • Edwardsville: 27.5% (25)
  • Marion: 27.5% (41)
  • Champaign: 44.9% (62)
  • Chicago: 16.9% (186)
  • Southwest Suburbs: 17.9% (94)
  • West Suburbs: 15.9% (77)
  • Northwest Suburbs: 38.3% (152)
  • North Suburbs: 11.9% (27)
 
Ventilator Usage:
  • Usage is seeing a slight downward trend:
  • April 6: 29%
  • April 14: 25%
  • April 26: 23%
  • May 4: 763 on ventilators in hospital (22% of total inventory in use by COVID patients; Lower than expected)
SIREN Notifications
To get the most up-to-date guidance from the State of Illinois, you can register to receive SIREN - State of Illinois Rapid Electronic Notifications .  SIREN provides regional, State and Federal partners with a comprehensive information sharing, collaboration, alerting and notification solution. If you have difficulties registering please contact SIREN .
Source: SIREN
FEDERAL
CDC NHSN Module and Enrollment Instructions
The CDC has posted the training slides for the NHSN COVID-19 reporting module and NHSN enrollment. The replay of training on the module is today at 2 p.m.
CDC Return to Work Criteria
The CDC updated the Return to Work Criteria last week. When using a symptom-based strategy for determining when healthcare personnel can safely return to work after recovering from COVID-19, the new guidance includes 10 days since initial onset of symptoms (or first positive test for those who never developed symptoms). The guidance for determining when to discontinue transmission-based precautions in patients/residents has also been updated to reflect the same timelines.
Housing Updates
We have a few updated on senior housing we want to make sure you are aware of:
 
Existing Service Coordinator Funds:
After several months of delays, HUD Section 202 housing providers have reported that funds for their existing (CY20) service coordinator grants for HUD Section 202 housing have started to hit accounts. These are separate from the new service coordinator funds from the CARES Act. If your members are still seeing delays, please contact Linda Couch and Juliana Bilowich at LeadingAge. 
 
HUD Cleaning and Disinfecting Webinar Recap:
Yesterday, representatives from HUD and the CDC delivered presentations on their interim guidance on facility cleaning and disinfecting for COVID-19. These guidelines are focused on common areas in multifamily housing settings and are meant for the property managers and maintenance staff who service buildings where the COVID 19 disease may be present.
 
To limit the spread of the virus, the webinar recommended using the following two strategies:
  • Distancing - continuing to keep people six feet apart, and to utilize face coverings where appropriate; personnel on the webinar also encouraged visitors in multifamily housing to wear masks

  • Disinfecting - not just cleaning (removing germs), but disinfecting (killing germs) using both efficient and effective disinfection protocols. Efficient disinfection means addressing frequently-touched surfaces, like doorknobs and light switches, more often, as opposed to disinfecting everything, including floors and walls, less frequently. Effective disinfection means following product labels for application times, dilution proportions, and handling safety.
 
The webinar included several handouts ; for more information on cleaning and disinfection, visit the CDC webpage on cleaning protocols for reopening.
 
LeadingAge Illinois Monthly HUD Member Call:
Linda Couch, Vice President of Housing Policy and Juliana Bilowich, Director, Housing Operations and Policy at LeadingAge will lead a call with members on May 13 at 12 p.m. This one-hour call will provide the latest HUD updates and issues related to COVID-19 and housing.  RSVP now
OTHER NEWS
Value First – Ideas to Honor Your Nurses
Our nursing and healthcare teams have been busy caring for everyone. May 6-12 is the week to show our nurses that we care about them. American Solutions for Business is a Value First/Vizient provider who has put together an offering to help you show them some love. Contact information and a few ideas from their many in stock items are listed here to place your orders. You do not need to be a Value First member to take advantage of this offer.
 
Please continue reaching out to Value First for the needs of your community. Also, visit the Value First Website or their resource page for up-to-date information for your community.
Contact: Terry Romin at 224.230.7365
Recognize Your Heroes
During this time of crisis, it is important that we recognize the heroes working in your organizations that are making a difference in the lives of residents. To all those on the front lines keeping Illinois seniors safe, LeadingAge Illinois says "Thank you"! Tag your staff or organization on our Facebook page here to say thank you or share your own post to the Facebook page .
LeadingAge Live Online Coronavirus Daily Member Update
LeadingAge is hosting daily live online updates each weekday afternoon. Subscribe to "LeadingAge Need to Know" via communications preferences in your MyLeadingAge account to receive email updates. Register for live online updates 5 days/week at 2:30 p.m. through May. You can find an archive of all member updates here

Also, if you’re a member of both LeadingAge Illinois and LeadingAge National, stay connected with other LeadingAge National Members and share information and resources through the MyLeadingAge Member Community: COVID-19 . This is a place to connect with your peers to share and discuss everyday practices related to the coronavirus. Take a moment now to log into your my.leadingage.org account and join the group to stay connected. LeadingAge also has a COVID-19 webpage with the latest updates, information and resources for members.
EDUCATION
Upcoming:
 
May 6
10:15-11:45 a.m.
Free to LeadingAge Illinois Members

May 12
10:45-11:45 a.m.
Free to LeadingAge Illinois Members

Save the Date:

COVID-19 Waivers in the SNF: Billing and MDS Coding Guidance Webinar
May 19, 2020
10:15-11:15 a.m.
Free to LeadingAge Illinois Members
Virtual Sessions Open for Registration
LeadingAge is launching new Virtual Sessions, live online presentations with extended Q&A. Space is limited, so register for free today. Upcoming sessions are:


Free LeadingAge QuickCasts
The very latest QuickCast is Dementia and COVID-19: Insights from the Field . In this 13-minute QuickCast, Kirsten Jacobs shares ideas and insights from providers and collaborators who are supporting people with dementia in the context of COVID-19.